The Independent Television Commission has bowed to industry pressure and
partially relaxed the rules on masthead programming.
The proposals mean that for the first time magazine publishers will be
able to develop TV versions of their titles.
However, the move received a lukewarm response from the Periodical
Publishers Association. The PPA has campaigned for two years for the
introduction of masthead programming, which up until now has been
regarded by the ITC as a form of sponsorship.
The ITC is to lift its restrictions on all but the ‘core terrestrial
channels’ - ITV, Channel 4 and the forthcoming Channel 5. Publishers
will be able to use their magazines’ names, content, and contributors
for cable, satellite and new digital services.
However, the PPA has vowed to keep up its pressure until the rules are
fully relaxed and it intends to lobby political parties at their autumn
Ian Locks, managing director of the PPA, said: ‘This is hip, hip, rather
than hip, hip, hooray. Obviously, we’re very pleased that the ITC has
acknowledged the existence of masthead programming as a separate genre.
But the exclusion of core terrestrial channels is a big disappointment.’
Locks said the new rules were unlikely to encourage mainstream titles to
move into masthead programming because of satellite and cable TV’s
But Terry Mansfield, managing director of the National Magazine Company,
said: ‘Some of our publications offer great potential for masthead
programmes. Our flagship titles - Good Housekeeping and Cosmopolitan -
would seem the most appropriate place to start.’
NatMags was linked with Granada Sky Broadcasting this summer when it
emerged that the two companies had held discussions about Good
Housekeeping lending its name to the home interest channel, Granada Good
Life, which launches next week (Campaign, 28 June).